The report presents key findings from the HSE’s extensive investigation into the death of Sam Ball, a 23-year-old construction worker, at a Hertfordshire construction site in January 2002. Mr Ball was fatally injured when a concrete beam that fell from a mobile crane struck him.

Forensic investigation by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) established that a pin forming part of the lifting tackle had fractured in two places and became dislodged, causing one end of the lifting frame to drop.

Dave Rothery, head of operations (London, east and south east) at the HSE’s construction division said: “The fundamental cause of the incident was the failure of the pin, which was was defective.”

The HSE’s enquiries revealed that the South African-based manufacturer/supplier company was no longer trading and, therefore, that legal proceedings would not be possible.

Rothery added: “However, the investigation findings raise a wider issue for consideration by those undertaking routine examination of lifting tackle and the HSE is publishing this report with a view to raising awareness of the circumstances leading to Sam Ball’s death and, in particular, the implications.”

He concluded: “We advise that where lifting tackle components are not visible, the competent person undertaking the examination should give careful consideration to the circumstances in which such components should be removed for examination or routinely replaced. Lifting equipment manufacturers and suppliers should provide information on this subject to their customers.”